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Sometimes the media is quick to criticize the pace of Recovery Act spending in the energy sector. Here’s a key fact that is often overlooked: more than 90 percent of the Department of Energy’s $32 billion in Recovery Act funds has been allocated to clean energy projects around the country, creating tens of thousands of direct jobs and even more along the supply chain – doing everything from installing wind turbines and solar panels, to manufacturing electric car batteries, to making homes more energy-efficient. 

Focusing on the amount that has been “paid out” or “reimbursed” misses the impact that these funds have had in creating jobs from the moment projects were selected for funding. When you hire a contractor to remodel your house, people are hired and materials are purchased at the beginning of a project. The economic stimulus activity starts then, not when the work is done and the contractor has been paid for it.

The Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant program, for example, has already resulted in 4,000 innovative projects around the country, benefiting local communities.  Not only are carpenters, electricians and others already hard at work, but families will be saving hundreds of dollars a year on their utility bills while also saving energy.  This is precisely what the Recovery Act was meant to do – put people to work now while making a down payment on a clean energy future.

The Department of Energy has been committed to transparency and accountability from the outset. And as an example of that you can see a detailed listing of our obligations and outlays updated each week, visit our Data and Financials page.

Matt Rogers is the Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Recovery Act Implementation